Riot Games are facing heavy criticism from players after a pricing error allowed some to collect hundreds of dollars of cosmetic items for free.
A mistake on the League of Legends store briefly allowed players to buy Blood Moon Capsules containing skins and other loot for just a single Blue Essence.
Blue Essence (BE) is one of two primary currencies in League of Legends, the other being Riot Points (RP). Unlike RP, which must be purchased, Blue Essence is earned over time via various rewards for playing the game.
Blue Essence is most commonly used for unlocking new champions, meaning that all gameplay aspects of League of Legends can eventually be earned for free if players would rather invest time than money.
For cosmetic items like skins, however, players usually have to spend RP. Though there are technically means of unlocking cosmetics without spending real money, they’re a lot slower and less reliable – cosmetics are Riot’s primary income source on a “free-to-play” game, and the game is very much designed such that people who want to kit out their favorite champions in fancy skins will have to pay to do so.
With the error on the store, however, players were suddenly able to purchase the Prestige Blood Moon Aatrox skin for Blue Essence, and both Prestige Points and Blood Moon Capsules for one Blue Essence each.
To put the Blue Essence cost into perspective, champions cost between 450 and 6300 BE. At any given time, the vast majority of players likely have hundreds if not thousands of Blue Essence available to spend – meaning that many could grab hundreds of capsules after noticing the pricing mistake.
Had the capsules been purchased for Riot Points, they would have cost 750 RP each, a real-world cost of a little over $5.
Riot Games Product Manager Adriaan Noordzij has announced that BE-purchased Prestige Points and Prestige Blood Moon Aatrox will be removed and refunded, but Riot aren’t planning on reverting purchases of the capsules.
In regards to Prestige Points being incorrectly sold for BE - we'll be reverting all BE-purchased Prestige Points and Aatrox. Any BE players used for Prestige Points will be refunded. Thank you for your patience!— Adriaan Noordzij (@KenAdamsNSA) January 10, 2019
Nothing planned.— Adriaan Noordzij (@KenAdamsNSA) January 10, 2019
Many fans, however, are furious to see Riot take this stance. Long-term players with an extensive skin collection may have invested hundreds, in some cases even thousands of dollars for the items they have.
After seeing others grab an enormous quantity of skins essentially for free, then, many are vowing never to spend money on RP again unless Riot revert the purchases.
This isn’t the first time Riot Games has come under fire over cosmetic items in the new year. The developer has already faced criticism over the design of the new Prestige skins and the implementation of Prestige points.